“Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.’” (Luke 9:23–24, NIV84)
I titled a devotion not too long ago “Jesus is not an add-on!” Today’s devotion bears the same title. Too many Christians think that being a Christian is as simple as adding Jesus to what already exists (an add-on). In our verse today Jesus blew that idea apart. He stated that “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” The first thing Jesus said is that we need to deny ourselves. Jesus doesn’t get added on, He replaces that which is denied and dead, hence Jesus’ mention of daily taking up our cross. The cross was the most violent and feared way to die. Jesus said that the old sinful man in each of us must daily die so that Jesus can fill the void. So, as He said a little later, “Whoever loses his life for Me will save it.” Jesus cannot be added to that which is dead. But once dead, Jesus can give new life and make one born again.
As I type these words I find that they are self-incriminating. I am guilty of not wanting to go through the daily dying (repentance) process. I want the quick fix. I want to treat Jesus like an add-on. But He will NOT have it! He requires that we die to ourselves before He can have a significant place in our lives. We need to DAILY go through the repentance process. We need to take up our cross daily and die to the old sinful man in us so that we might be set free by the power of the Gospel and receive the life that Jesus alone provides.
Today, let’s commit to the daily repentance process, no matter how painful it is, so that we might receive the life Jesus gives.